Davis Criticizes Proposition 36
Gov. Gray Davis (D) spoke out yesterday against Proposition 36, the ballot initiative that would send non-violent first- or second-time drug offenders to treatment facilities instead of jail or prison, the San Jose Mercury News reports. "I know that we need more than just a treatment option ... we need treatment and the potential to go to jail," to get addicts' attention, Davis stated. Davis called the measure "flawed" because it does not require convicted drug offenders to undergo drug testing while in treatment and would "stunt the growth of the state's 'drug courts'," which provide treatment with a "continued threat" of incarceration. "I join with a lot of law enforcement officials and Martin Sheen" -- honorary chair of the No on 36 campaign -- "in thinking that ... treatment is a part of the answer, but only part. The other part is incarceration," Davis said (Pope, San Jose Mercury News, 11/2). Bill Zimmerman, a chief supporter Proposition 36, "shrugged off" Davis' statements, calling them "an eleventh hour afterthought" (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 11/2). An independent analysis by the state reveals that by decriminalizing the possession of "small amounts of drugs," Proposition 36 is estimated to save California up to $200 million a year in jail and prison costs. Under the measure, 36,000 people each year would be sent to treatment and recovery centers rather than imprisoned (San Jose Mercury News, 11/2).